Amherst town officials should agree to study the prospect of placing a crosswalk on Maple Road near Maple East Elementary School.
Of course, nothing involving government is ever as simple as saying, “Get it done.” But the sad circumstances leading to this discussion make the idea of adding the crosswalk that much more reasonable.
It has to do with the playground at Maple East Elementary and the difficulty children have in getting there from their homes on the other side of Maple Road.
Thirteen-year-old Erin Suszynski loved that playground, but had to cross five lanes of traffic on Maple to get there.
Last June, Erin and a friend attempted the trip she’d made so many times before. They had stopped on the center median and were waved on by the driver of a car that stopped to let the girls pass.
Tragically, another car sped past the stopped vehicle and struck the girls. Erin died a few weeks later; Briana Francois has recovered. Briana was just one of many friends and relatives of the girls at a Town Board meeting Monday urging the board to create a lighted crosswalk on Maple Road.
The supporters need government approval, despite a grass-roots effort that raised more than $85,000 for the crosswalk. Erie County is responsible for Maple Road, but town leaders would have to request a crosswalk for the county to consider one.
Supervisor Barry A. Weinstein said he would do whatever he could and Council Member Mark A. Manna suggested the town invite county leaders to a meeting with the idea of holding their feet to the fire on the need for a crosswalk.
Town Board members did say they would forward a video of Monday’s meeting to county leaders and possibly push for a meeting with county officials.
Crossing Maple Road on foot is tricky business. The nearest crosswalk is a long block away, making the shortcut attractive to youngsters despite the busy road. And kids being kids, they’ll keep taking the shortcut.
Now it’s up to the adults to make something good come out of a tragedy and study how to make that crossing as safe as possible.